Every Step of Thoracic Surgery
Preparing for, undergoing, and recovering from thoracic surgery is a big undertaking that can seem pretty overwhelming. As medical professionals dedicated to helping our clients make this transition as smooth as possible, we care about being there for patients by offering helpful resources to prepare you.
The most common heart disease in the country, coronary artery disease occurs when blood flow to the heart is limited. Blood flow decreases to the heart when atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) causes fatty deposits called plaque to build up on the inside of blood vessels, blocking blood flow. The lack of oxygen from the decreased blood causes chest pain or in cases of complete blockage, death of a heart muscle (heart attack). High blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes are all major risk factors for coronary artery disease.
Taking good care of your heart can prevent heart disease or help you keep your heart in tip-top shape following surgery. Some of the major ways to keep your heart strong are to eat a heart-healthy diet, avoid smoking, and be conscientious about which types of drinks you’re consuming.
As you prepare for a major surgery, there are many moving parts you can expect. The team of experts taking care of you have a lot of prep to do before you are ready. Your surgical team includes a heart surgeon, resident doctors, an anesthesiologist, nurse practitioners and nursing staff.
There are quite a few tests, screens, and images your surgical team needs to have before the surgery starts. These tools give them the information they need to take the best care of you. During this time, your medical team will answer any questions you have and set the expectations.
During the surgery, your family will wait in the lounge and the surgeon will speak with the family once the surgery is over. Once the surgery is complete, you will be taken to the ICU to recover where you will be closely monitored. After your vital signs show stability, your family will be allowed to visit briefly. This visit may be difficult to recall later if you are sleepy or groggy after surgery.
Following surgery, things will be different for a while. You will have some tubes and wires connected to your body to help your team monitor your vitals and make sure you are healing properly. You’ll also begin making small steps toward full recovery within the first few days.
The primary concern post-surgery is respiratory complications because they can become quite severe and add stress to your recovering heart. Doctors will ensure you are stable and back to preoperative respiratory function before you are discharged. Using a Heart Hugger during recovery can aid in avoiding respiratory complications by making it more comfortable for the patient to cough, do their respiratory exercises, and breathe deeply to exhale the vapor in their lungs from surgery.
The road to recovery can seem intimidating, but these resources are meant to prepare you so you know what to expect. Explore our frequently asked questions page to see what questions others have asked.
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